Malaysia to alter 'hideous' tourism logo featuring orang utan in sunglasses

The logo, first released in January, was widely panned for being ugly and outdated, with thousands signing a petition calling for it to be dumped.
The logo, first released in January, was widely panned for being ugly and outdated, with thousands signing a petition calling for it to be dumped.PHOTO: TOURISM MALAYSIA

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's new government will change an official tourism logo featuring an orang utan wearing sunglasses after it sparked a storm of mockery, a minister said on Tuesday (Aug 14).

The "Visit Malaysia 2020" logo has an image of the orang utan with its arm around a proboscis monkey, a picture of a turtle - also sporting shades - and multi-coloured, uneven lettering.

It was released in January as part of a campaign to attract more tourists to the tropical South-east Asian country, but has been widely panned for being ugly and outdated, with thousands signing a petition calling for it to be dumped.

Despite the criticism, the then-tourism minister stood by the design, which also includes a retro image of Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

But the scandal-plagued government of prime minister Najib Razak was booted out of power in May, and new Tourism Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi is now pledging to alter the logo.

A contest will be held to re-design it, he was cited as saying in local media, but he insisted it was not being dumped entirely.

"We're not ditching it but we'll improve it. There were many complaints it wasn't nice," he was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini.

The minister told another outlet that the orang utan in sunglasses might have to go, as many had criticised it as "hideous".

The decision was welcomed online, with one Facebook user posting: "Finally! Down with that awful logo. Tasteless and ugly."

Malaysia, which boasts white-sand beaches, biodiverse diving spots, tropical forests and a variety of cultures, welcomed 25.9 million visitors in 2017.